The Battle for the B2B Mind

From the marketing classic Positioning: Battle for Your Mind, authors Al Ries and Jack Trout, challenge that the human mind is an “inadequate container.” Ries and Trout assert that, under constant bombardment of advertising and marketing, the mind becomes saturated by brands and can only hold a finite number at any one time. According to psychological studies, the maximum number of product brands we can remember for a given category,— the brand saturation point for the mind,— is seven.

The Battle for the B2B MindHow can this premise be used in B2B marketing? Positioning focuses on major brand consumer advertising, the multi-billion dollar campaigns behind soft drinks, airlines and cars. If the general consumer can’t recall more than seven brands of soft drinks, surely our B2B customers’ realm is even smaller.

MLT Creative tested this theory with an innovative new business outreach program called the Eight-Straight Strategy. With a goal of busting through the desktop clutter, we sent a coordinated series of colorful and interactive direct mail pieces. Eight pieces delivered in a rapid-fire schedule were intended to push out any other brands in our prospects’ ”inadequate containers.” Peppered with friendly, “Did you happen to receive…?” phone calls, we began to systematically establish relationships and cement our firm’s capabilities in the minds of our B2B prospects.

The cycle began with an unknown but enthusiastically hopeful outcome. As the prospect pipeline filled, and we shipped more batches of our creative mailers, we began to establish audience recall and real connections.

Prospects became opportunities. Many were curious and intrigued about the cleverness of our creative shop, a few were slightly annoyed at the aggressive nature, but acquiescing to its obvious effectiveness, wondering if it might work for their brand. Opportunities became clients.

While grabbing mindshare for any brand is important, it’’s the end result that really matters. Our campaign was designed to entertain while converting prospects to opportunities to clients.

In short, MLT Creative set out to battle for the mindshare of a specifically targeted set of leads. Best case scenario: we will land a new special client or two. Second best case: when they need us they’’ll say, “”Let’’s call those guys who sent us all that cool direct mail.”” It’’s a win-win.